April 26th marked day one of this year’s ACRL Sevens Championship, which was hosted by UNC-Greensboro. Unfortunately, the Demon Deacons had to make the short trip to Greensboro with a short roster, closing out the sevens season with only 10 of the 15 players permitted in the competition.
That number dropped to nine as junior Max Wohlmuth went down with a severe ankle injury in a heartbreaker against UNC. Just hours later, senior Rob Kelly joined Wohlmuth on the injured reserve list after sustaining a concussion in an especially rough loss to Virginia Tech.
Wake’s seniors rallied their teammates to give Notre Dame a good fight, but their first half heroics weren’t enough to stop the Irish from handing the Deacs their third loss of the day, positioning Wake Forest as the seventh seed going into Sunday’s knock-out round.
Thorough recovery and stretching left the Demon Deacons well rested and ready to attack day two of the tournament with the help of senior Liam McIntyre, who ‘retired’ after the fall season, but suited up to play in the final day’s matches when he heard his teammates were shorthanded.
Wake started the second day against a first-ranked Maryland side, whose conservative approach resulted in a 7-5 lead at the half. The Deacs’ lack of depth hindered their attempts at a comeback, ultimately allowing Maryland to pull away with a 28-12 victory.
That loss set up a rematch against the Tarheels, who had just suffered a quarterfinal loss to Notre Dame. The Demon Deacons’ second dance with UNC was anything but déjà vu, as the Tarheels leveraged their depth to head home with a 43-7 victory.
Following the hard-fought championship, seniors commended their teammates for displaying marked courage and discipline in the face of such adversity. The team is looking forward to a final night of celebration and reflection at the team banquet that will take place later this week.
DAY ONE SCORES
Wake Forest 17 (5)
UNC 22 (12)
Wake Forest 0 (0)
Virginia Tech 33 (12)
Wake Forest 12 (12)
Notre Dame 35 (14)
DAY TWO SCORES
Wake Forest 12 (5)
Maryland 28 (7)
Wake Forest 14 (7)
UNC 43 (17)
( ) indicates halftime score
This Saturday and Sunday, Greensboro will live up to the name “Tournament Town” once again by hosting the ACRL Sevens Championship Tournament. All seven conference teams and one special invite, the University of Notre Dame, will compete for the conference title at the UNC-Greensboro Spartans soccer stadium. The two-day event will showcase some of the regions top university rugby programs battling it out while promoting the newest addition to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
We invite all students, families and fans support the Demon Deacons during our pool play matches:
Saturday, April 26th
10:10AM vs UNC-Chapel Hill
12:00PM vs Virginia Tech (on Field 2, outside the stadium)
1:30PM vs University of Notre Dame
TBA (based on Saturday results)
Tickets are available at the gate, though price information has not yet been announced. Visit www.atlanticcoastrugby.com for more information about the tournament. For driving directions and parking details, visit UNCG Athletics.
The third leg of the ACRL Spring Sevens Circuit took place at Virginia Tech this weekend; given their morning kick off, Wake Forest opted to travel up the night before to ensure their 12-man roster would be rested and ready to go.
Due to some last minute team withdrawals, Wake Forest opened the tournament against an aggressive UVA squad eager to prove themselves in the home of the Hokies. Though both teams demonstrated equal aggression, two small errors sent the Demon Deacons into halftime trailing the Cavaliers 12-0. Wake Forest bounced back with fresh legs and two strong tries from senior Jack Zimmerman, but UVA pulled away with a 26-12 win in the end.
For their second match, the Deacs caught UNC coming off of a quick turnaround versus Virginia Tech, which helped neutralize the Tarheels’ clear size advantage. Wake tested UNC’s depth by maintaining most of the first half possession, which featured two converted tries from senior Johnny McMurray. Freshman Austin Cunningham won a second half foot race to add another five points and solidify the Deacs’ 19-12 victory.
Next up, Wake Forest took on Radford University, a Virginia-based Division II powerhouse using the tournament as an opportunity to put their skills to the test. The Demon Deacons exploded out of the gates with tries from Zimmerman, Cunningham, junior Max Wohlmuth and sophomore rookie James Doerfler to take a 26-5 lead at the break. Starting the second half, junior Christian Gutowski made his way into the try zone and Cunningham pulled a hat trick with two more. The convincing 43-10 victory placed Wake Forest in the 3rd/4th place playoff against Maryland, the second seed from pool A.
Despite coming off a physically demanding loss to Virginia Tech, the Terps gave the Deacs the toughest defense they had seen all day. Wake Forest managed to exploit some gaps that sent them into the break with a 12-10 lead, but a brief mental lapse on the Deacs’ defense allowed the Terps to take a 12-15 lead just after the restart. After some very tense back-and-forth play, Zimmerman broke through a number of would-be tacklers to touch down a wide try that showcased McMurray’s boot and gave Wake Forest a 19-15 lead with only 10 seconds on the clock.
Gutowski pressured the kickoff and forced a turnover, allowing Wake Forest to control possession and wait for time to expire, but the ball was accidentally thrown into touch, forcing the official to call a penalty on the Demon Deacons that afforded Maryland one final play. After three strong, open-field tackles, Maryland eventually found a crack in the Deacs’ defense and slipped through to win 19-20.
When it was all said and done, Wake Forest finished the day in 4th place, having outscored their opponents 93-68. With just four training sessions before the next tournament, players are eager to get back on the pitch Tuesday and begin addressing their weekend errors. Efficiency will be key to the Deacs’ success at the two-day ACRL Sevens Championship, which will be held at UNC-Greensboro’s Spartan Stadium.
The recent sunshine was enough to clear away any lingering snow in time for the first ACRL Sevens Tournament of the season. North Carolina State would play host on Saturday with a moist playing field and beautiful 60 degree weather.
Wake Forest opened the tournament with a match against the CRC-bound Virginia Tech Hokies, who made the most of a bad bounce on the opening kickoff to take a very early 7-0 lead. Wake Forest drove the ensuing kickoff return into Virginia Tech territory, but kicked away possession and gave the Hokies a gap up the sideline, allowing them to extend their lead to 12-0. The Hokies converted a third try before the half, leaving Wake Forest with a 19 point deficit to make up after the break.
The Demon Deacon side found its defensive structure on the opening kickoff and pressured the Hokies to kick away possession. Shifty footwork from freshman Austin Cunningham set up some great offloads and allowed junior Max Wohlmuth to find a seam up the sideline. Splitting two defenders, Max connected with senior Bryce Lambert, who sprinted the remaining 22 meters and scored Wake's first points of the day. Virginia Tech put one more on the board in the second half, but Wake Forest answered back to end the game with the final score of 26-14 in favor of the Hokies.
Wake Forest's momentum spilled over into their first half versus the University of Virginia; the Deacs jumped to a quick 14-7 lead, then conserved their energy and managed the clock for the remainder of the game. During the final minute, the Cavaliers exploited a mismatch that led to a short break up the sideline. Virginia's tight support and sharp offloading skills helped them find the try zone as time expired and the successful conversion left the game in a draw.
In final pool match of the day, the Demon Deacons faced off against Northeastern University, who'd made the drive all the way from Boston. The Deacs drew first blood to start the match 5-0, but the Mad Dogs offered a "Polar Vortex" of pent up energy in response, rebounding to 21-5 at the half and scoring two more tries early in the second half. The Deacs scored once more, but couldn't close the gap on Northeastern's 33-10 lead.
After finishing fourth in pool play, Wake Forest finished out the day with a match against the UNC Tarheels. With both teams coming off just a 45-minute recovery, the match was clearly a battle of wills. The Demon Deacons controlled much of the first half's possession as freshman Eli Groves used selective attacking strategies to score twice, giving Wake a 12-7 lead at the half.
Fresh legs helped boost the Tarheels to a 14-12 lead early in the second half, but a midfield scrum soon gave senior John McMurray the chance to make a 30 meter breakaway. McMurray connected with Austin Cunningham, who took it the rest of the way, putting Wake Forest on top 19-14. The Deacs continued to fight, but relentless effort from UNC earned the Tarheels two late tries and a 28-19 victory.
The Demon Deacons will sit the next ACRL event out since it falls during Wake Forest's spring break, but they will have plenty of time to analyze their film and develop their defensive structure before hosting the following tournament in Winston-Salem on March 22.
courtesy of www.atlanticcoastrugby.com
Atlantic Coast Rugby Seven's Series Event - 22nd February 2014 - Raleigh, North CarolinaThe tournament will be played at the Method Rd. Soccer Complex at North Carolina State University. The field is located at:
Ligon St. & Method Rd.
There are various hotels very close by that offer competitive rates and also include free hot breakfast. Here are some recommended hotels:
Wingate By Windham
Hampton Inn and Suites
A - Virginia Tech, Northeastern, Virginia, Wake Forest
B - Kutztown, NC State, American International College, North Carolina
Game 1 - 10am - Virginia Tech v. Wake Forest
Game 2 - 10.20am - Northeastern v. Virginia
Game 3 - 10.40am - Kutztown v. North Carolina
Game 4 - 11.00am - NC State v. AIC
Game 5 - 11.40am - Virginia Tech v. Northeastern
Game 6 - 12.00pm - Virginia v. Wake Forest
Game 7 - 12.20pm - Kutztown v. NC State
Game 8 - 12.40pm - AIC v. North Carolina
Game 9 - 1.20pm - Virginia Tech v. Virginia
Game 10 - 1.40pm - Northeastern v. Wake Forest
Game 11 - 2.00pm - NC State v. North Carolina
Game 12 - 2.20pm - Kutztown v. AIC
Game 13 - 3.00pm - A#4 v. B#4
Game 14 - 3.20pm - A#3 v. B#3
Game 15 - 3.40pm - A#2 v. B#2
FINAL - 4.00pm - A#1 v. B#1
Not everything that happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.
This past Sunday, rugby fans from all over the world gathered to watch the 4th stop on the IRB World Sevens Circuit play out in Nevada. While others enjoyed the nationally televised competition from the comfort of their home, Wake Forest Rugby saw this as an opportunity to share the excitement of the sport with their Demon Deacon family.
Over 50 students gathered at Zick’s Pub on campus to eat some free food, win some Wake Forest Rugby raffle prizes and to watch Sunday’s televised competition. Despite the 1-hour delay in the broadcast, guests patiently stuck around to witness the final two matches between Canada v Samoa and the cup final between South Africa v New Zealand. For students, it was the opportunity to learn more about the game and hear about the teams upcoming competition by speaking with current team members. For players, it was a chance to teach their classmates about the sport, enjoy some world-class rugby and gain inspiration for the upcoming sevens season.
The team is excited to have more opportunities like this in the future. With an amazing venue on campus, like Zicks, showing nationally televised rugby, there is a lot of potential to raise awareness of the sport, gain more support on campus and, hopefully, find one or two individuals that are interested and committed to join the play the game.
A huge thank you goes out to Wake Forest Women’s Rugby. Their efforts in marketing the event across campus and donating some raffle prizes helped make this event a success.
After all the confetti had fallen and the fireworks had ended, Wake Forest Rugby had more to celebrate after New Years Day. In the recent announcement from the ACRL, 4 Demon Deacons were recognized for their performance, on and off the field, during the fall XV’s season. Please join us in congratulating the following individuals:
All-ACRL 1st Team
Bryce Lambert, Utility Forward
John McMurray, Utility Back
All-ACRL Honorable Mention
Austin Cunningham, Fullback
With the holiday vacation officially over and the daily routine returning to campus, Wake Rugby has officially kicked off the spring season by wrapping up the first full week of training. Last Monday, when most of the students were battling airports and highway traffic in route to Winston-Salem, the rugby team was diving into things with performance testing and thorough individual skills session. Now that the baseline is set, both players and coaches are eager to ramp up the tempo and intensity to fully prepare for the first ACRL 7’s tournament in Raleigh on February 22nd.
The new season also returned familiar faces who were away during the fall. Wake Rugby welcomes back Ted McGuiggan, Max Wolmouth, Rob Kelly and Conor Murphy. We are excited to have these guys back on the pitch and look forward to their experience, leadership and enthusiasm helping make this another successful season.
Off the field, one of the team’s goals this semester is to increase awareness of Wake Forest Rugby on campus and gain more support from the Wake Forest Community. To make this happen, a number of events have been scheduled to introduce the sport of rugby to students and faculty.
Las Vegas 7’s Watch Party
Sunday, January 26th 4:00pm-6:00pm
Wake Forest Rugby 7’s Tournament
Saturday, March 22nd
Wake Forest Intramural Touch Rugby Tournament
Sunday, April 5th 4:00pm-7:00pm
Check out our schedule to follow Wake Rugby on the road.
While the rest of the ACRL teams had one more match to complete the Fall 2013 ACRL XV’s season, Wake Forest was enjoying a much needed, and deserved, bye week. When all the scores were tallied and the final rankings were published, the Deacons found themselves promoted to a 5th place finish, ahead of UNC and NC State, from the previous weeks last place ranking. With the final placement being decided by point differential, it is true testament to the Deacon's tenacious and aggressive defense continually displayed even in the toughest match ups.
Clemson 6-0 (+243)
Maryland 5-1 (+168)
Virginia 4-2 (+101)
Virginia Tech 3-3 (+85)
Wake Forest 1-5 (-156)
North Carolina 1-5 (-169)
North Carolina State 1-5 (-253)
(Points difference in brackets)
In addition, one veteran team member was recognized for their individual performance in the team’s final game. Johnny McMurray was named ACRL Co-Player of the Week for his 20pt contribution in the victory over UNC back on October 25th. One of Johnny’s individual highlights from that game is a candidate in our Try of the Year competition. To see this video clip, and others, visit www.wakeforestrugby.com and cast your vote for the highlight you believe to be the Try of the Year.
Although last weekend did not see true opposition line up against the Deacons, players held a friendly competition amongst themselves. Knowing all to well the physical demands will be much different for sevens, the strength and conditioning staff created a series of challenging circuits and small-sided games for players to compete and push each other for a one-hour session on Saturday morning. Anyone passing by would have witnessed the players competing in a number activities such as catching cards, nudging a ball along the ground with their head, carrying tackle dummies overhead like military boot camp or even facing off in tug-a-war. By the end of training, players appreciated each others effort on a Saturday morning and certainly earned the remainder of their weekend recovery.
On Saturday, Nov 9th, NC State will play host to the ACRL Fall 7’s Tournament. While teams are forced to make a speedy transition between rugby disciplines, the change does come with a big reward. The winning team from the tournament will also earn a bid into the USA College 7’s National Championship Tournament being held in Greensboro, NC on Nov 23rd and 24th.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @WakeForestRugby or on FaceBook at Wake Forest Men’s Rugby for live scores and updates from this weekend’s action. Next week, video replay of the team’s matches will be published on our website.